Rochdale Cider has the privilege of being the first Cider I’ve reviewed from across the ditch. New Zealand has a strong apple-growing heritage, particularly developing favourites like the Braeburn, as seen in the Lucky Duck Cider. Rochdale Cider has a lot going on – it may be too much.Rochdale has used some interesting marketing on the label. The abundance of facts about company, the product and what you can expect is a bit over whelming.
The side of the bottle says “perfect any time, nice chilled or over ice”. My ‘any time’ was early in the evening and I choose to have it chilled from the fridge but not over ice. Drinks that are too cold don’t reveal their fullest flavours. The label has some other remarks but ill get to them later.
You are greeted with golden syrup perfume that reminds you of a baked apple crumble, which matched its dark golden colour.
While the label claims to be a “dry, crisp finish” I didn’t find it as dry as some others like the Batlow Cloudy but there was the tartness as the label claims. I noticed a mineral, almost chemical, taste to the cider. This could come from the Palaeo water added to the cider. Possibly a mineral water (unspecified), from an aquifer said to be 26,000 years old, sold under the name Palaeo water, By Rochdale’s parent company McCashins. This is where I have a real with this cider: When you are claiming to be a “traditional cider” Water is a last resort. According to CAMRA:
The addition of water is permitted to bring the alcoholic content of the Cider/Perry down to the level required by the producer. Ideally, however the minimum juice content should not be lower than 90% volume.
While reducing the alcohol content you also reduce the flavour. Its not clear how much water Rochdale add but seems like something done by design not necessity. But I’ll give credit where it is due, if you have to use water< they have used a high quality water. All in all this made the cider plan and like mass market brand.
Final Thoughts on Rochdale Cider
I don’t know if I’m being harsh on the Rochdale cider. Maybe they are ahead of their time and experimenting their local ingredients like the Palaeo water. I don’t know what the target market is perhaps they are riding on the coat tails of Mangers and their “over ice” style and appeal to the casual summer time audience. Maybe they are trying too many things at once. However, the marketing message, and more importantly the taste, is lost on me.
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